Freight forwarder and forwarding agent

Function / Activity

The freight forwarders organise multimodal transportation. They proceed, in their name and under their responsibility, with the transportation of the goods that the shipper, importer or exporter entrusted to them, by choosing themselves the different carriers, modes and means of transportation that they need. They have a performance obligation towards their clients, which distinguishes them from the forwarding agents who only have an obligation of means. Forwarding agents use the ways and means specified by their clients.

The freight forwarder profession is regulated: they work under a permit issued by the Regional Office for Environment, Development and Housing (Direction Régionale de l’Environnement, de l’Aménagement et du Logement, D.R.E.A.L.).


Introduction to the profession in Marseille-Fos

There are about 120 forwarding companies in Marseille-Fos. With more than 3.000 employees, they are the first employers of the port.

The freight forwarders and forwarding agents are often specialised in a geographic area or in a type of goods; some do only import, others only export, but many of them are versatile.


Future development of the profession

Considering the changing market conditions, forwarding agents increasingly turn into freight forwarders and true logisticians, providing more complex, varied and wide-ranging logistic services.

The end-to-end control of the flow of goods requires the establishment of networks of agents or foreign subsidiaries, and the use of effective computer systems.

The transformation of the Union’s Customs Code towards a reinforcement of global supply chain safety caused the freight forwarders and forwarding agents to ask for the OEA (Approved Economic Operator) certification.